A Country Boy’s Guide To Navigating The Urban Environment With A Knife
It’s depressing to grow up in the country then move into city limits, because all the ways you’ve learned to entertain yourself outside suddenly become legally problematic. Nudity is the biggest one, obviously. Cities apparently take a semi-strict stance on pants. I still have no idea what to do with the 10-foot burn pile in my backyard, and shooting squirrels in the park is frowned upon by small children and their shrieking mothers.
Probably the worst change, though, is that I really have to search for things to do with a knife. I used to walk the hills, Buck 120 strapped to my hip for no other reason than that I wanted to, and there was maybe a chance of running into a bear or a mountain lion or an unwitting sapling that I’ll think looks like a good walking stick, but will just end up being a bendy, wet bat I use to slap at trees as I pass by.
And, no, you’re right. I shouldn’t fight bears or mountain lions, no matter what knife I’m carrying. The point is, as long as I live in city limits I won’t even have the option. So now I have to poke around looking for other reasons to play with knives.
If an enormous pile of cardboard boxes were to become sentient and construct itself into an army of hive-mind cardboard soldiers intent on destroying the city, I’ll be ready. My experience testing and writing about knives has trained me for nothing the way it’s trained me for fighting an evil cardboard army. That hasn’t happened yet, so if I’m going to be a hero, it will only be when someone needs to cut open a box.
In that vein, though, there is never a single person within a 10 foot radius of me who will ever have trouble opening a package. I’ve got my EDC on quickdraw to get through that ugly mess of plastic wrap. Anytime I order something online, part of me thinks “When that little bastard gets here, we’re gonna get him good” as I pat my pocket knife like it’s a purebred hound dog. If I made a pie graph of my knife use, it would be a big red circle labeled “Opening Amazon boxes” with a blue sliver around the top that says “Other shit that gets in my way.”
Making City People Nervous
To some degree I understand some of the nervousness around knives. They’re sharp and pointy, and if there’s anything that competes with disease for destruction in human history it’s sharp and pointy things (but also heavy blunt things, misguided medical practices, heart disease, and volcanoes).
And at some point I have to admit it’s my fault. I shouldn’t be trying to use my Condor Stratos to cut steaks in restaurants. It wasn’t even designed for that. Also there was that time I tried using a CRKT Ignitor to break into my car after locking my keys inside. In retrospect, that probably looked suspicious. But to be fair, what the hell else is the Ignitor good for?
Cleaning my Fingernails
I’ve honestly thought about getting a smaller knife specifically for doing this. Especially when I’ve been working in the yard, and there’s that thin, stubborn grime packed way down in the impossibly acute angle where the fingernail grows away from the skin.
I know there’s another tool made specifically for digging the dirt out from under your fingernails, but 90% of the time I’ve already sat down and that tool is in the bathroom, which is probably at least a whole fifteen feet away. But you know what’s zero feet away and works well enough so long as I’m as careful as I tell my girlfriend I am, like, twenty times a day?
Don’t judge me. I spent eighty god-damn dollars on this knife, and I’m stretching for reasons to use it.
Cutting my Pants
Did you know this was cool now? I saw a bunch of kids walking down the street with torn pants, and I’m pretty sure they were the cool kids because they were talking about local bands. So I cut a couple holes in my pants and walked up to them to ask if they’d heard that latest Pixies album. They said “who the hell are The Pixies” and then later down the street “Who the hell was that homeless guy”, but I’m 90% sure they wouldn’t have said anything to me at all if it weren’t for the holes I cut in my pants.
Emergency Open-Heart Surgery
Look, I’m not saying that when an old lady collapsed in line at a coffee shop, and CPR didn’t work, that I actually used my knife to make an incision over her heart to get at the valves and directly remove the blockage. I’m not saying I actually did that. Or even that the old lady collapsed. Or that I actually went to a coffee shop in the first place.
I’m just saying, for the sake of argument, that my knife is better than yours because, hypothetically, it’s sharp enough to do that, and you bought your knife for $5 at a flea market.
Almost Stabbing my Foot
You ever do that thing where you take your knife out because your hands have nothing to do, and you just mess around with changing grips and twirling it in your fingers – kinda pretending, but not really – that it’s practice for when the ninjas finally come out of the shadows and challenge you to a knife flipping contest, and you forget what the person you’re talking to is saying, then look down at what your hand is doing and realize it’s doing it right over your foot, and that if your hand drops the knife it’s a straight line to your big toe, and how much that would suck, then you think “that’s fine I just won’t drop the knife” but then you do and flail your hands around and barely jerk your foot out of the way, but watch in horror as the fine point of the freshly sharpened 420HC steel smacks the ground, and everyone around you gets really quiet as you scoop the knife up, check the blade really quick, stuff it in your pocket like nothing happened, but take it back out a minute later because your hands still have nothing to do?
No? Just me? Nevermind then.